It’s cold outside.
It’s so cold and snowy that our wifi here has been glitching for a couple of days. But you know what? I’d still rather live in the midwest than anywhere else. There is something comforting about seasons, even as climate change messes them up more and more.
But I digress.
It’s time for an old favorite: Mac reviews horror comics even though he knows almost nothing about horror! It’s a fan favourite, mainly because I know there are a lot of readers out there who either a) also never watched a lot of horror and want to know if this is worth their wild, b) did watch a lot of horror and can’t wait to attack me for my lack of insight and knowledge, or c) are hip young Gen Z kids who only know the existential horror of existence and are curious about scary men in spooky masks.
This week I am looking at what is easily my favourite comic to ever come from AfterShock Comics, and honestly, one of my favourite indie comics of the last 5 years, Maniac of New York. It’s a loving homage to slasher movies of the 1980s, while also being fresh and unique enough to be its own thing.
Issue 1 of Volume 3 just dropped, and if you missed it, I’m going to tell you why you need to rush out and try to snag yourself a copy while you still can. You’re not going to want to sleep on this one!
Previously in Maniac of New York: Four years ago, a masked slasher began stalking the streets of New York City.
Maniac Harry is inhuman, unkillable and unstoppable. Which is why the authorities’ solution has been to ignore him, and let New Yorkers adapt to a world where death can strike at any moment. When Maniac Harry starts killing his way through the subway system, trauma-haunted political aide Gina Greene and disgraced NYPD detective Zelda Pettibone become determined to go rogue and destroy him. But how can they fight a monster when they can’t fight City Hall?
Even if you’re not a huge horror fan, it’s not hard to figure out the inspiration for this series. It’s Jason Takes Manhattan, only instead of dying, he just hangs around and keeps killing…for 4 years. Volumes 1 and 2 of this series are honestly amazing, not just for the fantastic art by Mutti and the pitch perfect ‘80s horror tone established by Kalan, but also because this book is so upsettingly good at realistically depicting how something like this would actually happen.
Many people doubt that Harry exists, or says that the victim deserved it for who they were or how they lived. Politicians push the blame off on the police, the police push the blame off on the people, and nothing actually happens to make lives better for anyone.
Big spoilers ahead!
Finally, one of the survivors of Harry’s earliest attack, an attack at a summer camp outside of New York, along with her partner, manage to identify Harry’s only weakness, and seemingly kill him in a public spectacle that leaves little doubt in people’s minds that Harry is really dead and gone.
Or is he?!!!!!
Well, kind of, maybe, eh?
Here’s the blurb for Issue 1 of Maniac of New York: Don’t Call It A Comeback:
Maniac Harry, the seemingly unstoppable killer, has finally been stopped. The city celebrates, the Mayor takes the credit, and Maniac Task Force Director Gina Greene – last seen slicing the Maniac’s head open – has disappeared to parts unknown. Now NYPD Detective Zelda Pettibone must pick up the pieces of a life that’s suddenly so empty she almost wishes the Maniac was back. And unfortunately, sometimes wishes are granted.
THAT’S RIGHT, THERE’S A NEW MANIAC, BUT NOT THE ONE YOU’RE EXPECTING! Stay out of Central Park and stay away from cable news, ’cause something terrifying is on the loose!
Writer Elliott Kalan and artist Andrea Mutti return to the acclaimed horror-satire series for a tale of horrifying gore and even more horrifying cultural relevance!
I’m running out of ways to say how good this series it. Volume 3 hits hard with a lot of what I loved in the first two, and continues to show not only how relevant the horror trope of the ‘80s were, but also why so many current horror movies miss the mark.
Takes out soapbox.
The best horror films are not the scariest, or the most gory, their the ones with the best social commentary. Peak horror has always been clever and subversive in it’s social commentary, and managed to sneak some pretty insightful social critiques in between all the sex and horror.
Too much modern horror seems to only focus on the blood and gore, with a dash of PG-13 sexuality. A lot of the social commentary is missing, replaced with jump scares and fairy tale morality. Harsh social commentary and critical world views are no more.
The world I grew up in has changed, and I don’t care for it!
Puts away soapbox
This is why Maniac of New York really shines. Yes, the horror is intense and the violence is brutal, but it’s in the messaging that this story really shines.
If you love classic horror, and miss those great ‘80’s slasher movies of old, do yourself a favour, go out and Read This Book.
Until next time, Stay Safe.